I grew up in the UK as part of a close-knit family in the suburbs of London. I was fascinated by Judaism from childhood, leading High Holiday services in my home congregation at the age of fifteen. I received my undergraduate degree in Hebrew Literature from Oxford University and also spent three years in Israel, studying at the Hebrew University and in the Advanced Scholars' Program at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. It was there that I discovered mindfulness meditation and a personal spirituality focused on the inner-life.
At a certain point, academia was not enough, and I decided that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. I had always dreamed of spending time in the United States - the most diverse spectrum of Jewish life anywhere in the world! That dream became a reality when I spent three wonderful years in Los Angeles studying at the Ziegler School, where I received my rabbinic ordination and MA in rabbinic studies in 2013.
Upon leaving rabbinical school I was fortunate enough to be selected for my current pulpit at Temple Emanuel of Virginia Beach, where I have worked as the solo rabbi for the past seven years. The Atlantic may only be three blocks away, but Temple Emanuel definitely has a "West Coast" vibe. I've had the honor and privilege of working alongside incredible lay-leaders, open to new ideas and experimentation, allowing us to meet today's demographic trends head-on.
I've had the opportunity to help the community re-brand itself, loudly "embracing Jewish diversity," establish a new kind of religious school, develop a pluralistic curriculum for adults, create a "davening team" and write a siddur. I've had the privilege of walking with congregants through times of grief and despair as well as celebrating the birth of new life, the passage of b'nei mitzvah and the joyful sanctification of love.
Meditation, prayer and ecstatic song are all pillars of my personal spiritual life. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, graphic design, movie-making, science-fiction, and I love meeting new people. The greatest treasure in my life is my five-year-old son. Not only is he dangerously adorable, but his curiosity about everything around him always prompts me to rethink how I see the world.
As you might have already gathered, I believe that the only kind of "real" Torah is the kind that is directly relevant to our lives. That being said, I still enjoy the rigor of academic scholarship and seek to find ways to translate the latest historical research into lessons for the present. My areas of expertise include ancient Israelite religion, the Second Temple period, the gestation of early Christianity, the evolution of Rabbinic Judaism and the culture of Iranian Jewry during the creation of the Babylonian Talmud.